Joining me to talk about the world of small business is Federal Small Business Minister, Michael McCormack, Peter Strong, the Chief Executive of the Council of Small Business of Australia and Jackie Crowe, who is Australia’s Mental Health Commissioner. We also have a small business owner in country Victoria.
But first to Michael McCormack. Minister, you have been out across the country talking with small business owners. What’s the state of things?
Generally, it’s confident. I am amazed at the resilience and I am amazed at the confidence and the hope for the future many small businesses and operators have. I continue to be inspired by the stories of how the $20,000 instant asset write-off helps their businesses.
Across Australia I’ve met people such as Bunbury’s Barbara Carey. She’s got the Warehouse Café, serving the needs of the city’s industrial area in Bunbury. She’s used that instant asset write-off to help boost her business. She told me she has more customers through the store because of the items she’s been able to buy. It’s that capital equipment she’s been able to buy thanks to the write-off which makes her job easier.
As I’ve been going around, I also met Kate Marland, Matt. You know, she’s got a family-owned jewellery store in Bundaberg and we had a great chat about a few things. She’s going to buy a new drill thanks to the write-off. Kate bought it for her dad, who helps put the jewellery together and the other little knick-knacks that she sells in her shop.
Of course, these are just a couple of the stories of the people I’ve met as I take my small business roadshow right across the nation. We’ve been to capital cities and also to far-flung rural, remote and regional communities.
The story I hear is the same. Small businesses like the instant asset write-off. They also like the fact that we’ve reduced the company tax rate to 27.5% for businesses up to a $25 million turnover, but starting with small businesses. Matt, that’s the lowest it’s been since 1940. So it’s very good news indeed.
Absolutely. Well this is the thing; small business owners, they do struggle. You always walk into the shop, you are always looking for a quick discount or knock off on the price, without realising that behind that counter is an operator who’s only just getting by, but they keep going.
You’re absolutely right, Matt. They’re also the ones supporting the community through giving prizes for their local school P&Cs, the sporting clubs and junior organisations. Small businesses support the Scouts and those sorts of things. They are the heart and soul of any country community, the heart and soul of any capital city community and any suburban community.
That’s why we want to lift some of the red tape from them. During the last Budget, $300 million was put on the table to work with States and Territories to cut through some of that overlapping State -Federal red tape. I want to help reduce the bureaucracy that gets in the way.
We have made a start. We simplified the Business Activity Statement and we are rolling out the Single-Touch Payroll. That’s helping. But Matt, I would like to hear stories how we can further cut through red tape and I want people to get in touch with me.
Absolutely. Well if our listeners have got the ideas, give me a call. We would love to hear what you think.
Michael, let’s come back to a place in my heart. You are on this nationwide roadshow in our rural and regional communities. We often in the big cities we forget about the fact in those communities, small businesses are the backbone.
Yes they are. I’m the 17th Small Business Minister federally and I am also the first from a country community. There has been one from a peri-urban area before, but I am the first regionally-based Small Business Minister.
I understand what it’s like out there in small business too. Having also run my own small business in a rural centre I understand the challenges. But there are also so many unique opportunities that these country centres have.
Having been out and about in many of these regional centres I have heard so much from them. I have been so inspired by them.
I have heard about their mobile black spots and doing business in the digital age. That’s why we are emphasising and focusing our attention on making sure they are connected, fixing mobile blackspots. I want to help make sure they can also take advantage of the trade agreements we have with China, South Korea and Japan. That’s a great opportunity. New market access.
And I also want to make sure they have the services but also the assistance they sometimes need from organisations such as the ATO, the ACCC and indeed Kate Carnell, the Australian Small Business and Family Enterprise Ombudsman.
That was Federal Small Business Minister Michael McCormack.